TOP-50 interesting facts about Thailand and Thais
Thailand is an ancient country in Southeast Asia that shares many similarities with its neighbours. But at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In our article we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Thailand.
50 most interesting facts about Thais and Thailand
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. On the territory of Thailand, archaeologists discovered the remains of one of the oldest people on earth – Lampang man. He lived in these places 1 million years ago.
2. The first states in this area appeared at the turn of our era. In the 2nd century A.D., the Mon people lived here as part of the Phunan Khmer Empire. For a long time it was the Khmer who ruled over Thai lands.
3. The first really Thai state is considered to be Ayutthaya, which appeared in the middle of the XV century. Ayutthaya maintained contacts with Portugal, at this time Christian missionaries appeared here.
4. In the XVII century, French envoys began to play a big role in Ayutthaya. They almost put their puppet on the throne, but were expelled.
5. From the middle of the eighteenth century, regular clashes with the Burmese began. They took place with varying success, but to this day relations between the countries are very tense.
6. In the late eighteenth century, Thonburi became the capital of Thailand. King Thaksin declared himself a Buddha and was overthrown by his own associates. One of them became the new king of Thailand – Rama I. Since 1782, the ruling royal dynasty of Thailand has made history and Bangkok became the capital.
7. In the middle of the XIX century, the kingdom became officially called Siam, although so Europeans called these lands since the XIII century. This name was retained until 1949.
8. Siam was the only state in the region that did not become a European colony. This happened because Siam was a buffer zone between the British (Burma, Malaya) and French (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) colonies.
9. The early twenty-first century in Thailand has been marked by two successive military coups. The last one happened in 2014, when the king’s power was curtailed and a military government took over.
10. In 2019, the country held general elections for the National Assembly, marking the beginning of a return to democracy.
11. The word «Thai» translated means «free». Thus, the country name Thailand translates to «Land of the Free People».
12. The country’s calendar differs from the common calendar. It is conducted from the year of Buddha’s transition to nirvana. Thus, the beginning of counting is 11 March 543 BC.
13. Buddhism is the main, state religion of Thailand. Buddhists here are more than 90 per cent of the population. There are over 30,000 Buddhist temples and about 370,000 monks in the country.
14. Now, Thailand is one of the most dynamically developing countries in Asia. It is in the 10th place in the region in terms of GDP.
15. The king of the country is Rama X, Maha Vachiralongkorn, known for his extravagant antics. For example, he made his poodle Fu-Fu an air marshal, and after the doggie’s death, he declared a four-day mourning period in the country.
16. The Thai royal family is considered one of the richest in the world. Their fortune is estimated at between 30 and 60 billion euros.
17. Now in Thailand lives almost 70 million people. In terms of population, the country is in 20th place in the world.
18. Bangkok has entered the Guinness Book of Records as the city with the longest name. Its full name is «Krun Thep Mahanakkhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintarayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Nopparat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchanivet Mahasatan Amon Piman Awatan Satit Sakkathathattiya Witsanukam Prasi» and schoolchildren in Thailand are forced to learn it by heart.
19. Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations. In 2018, about 38 million people came here to holiday. Now tourism gives 18% of the GDP.
20. Modern Thailand is the world leader in rice cultivation. Here produce annually 9 million tonnes of this cereal, including the famous variety «Jasmine».
21. The main attraction of the country, which every tourist must visit, is the Royal Palace in Bangkok. It is a huge palace complex, the centre of which is considered to be the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
22. Another iconic landmark of the country is its ancient capital, Ayutthaya, located near Bangkok. There are ruins of majestic temples and the famous Buddha’s head wrapped in the roots of a mighty tree.
23. There are many other temples in Bangkok, the most visited being Wan Pho or Lying Buddha, and Wan Arun or Morning Dawn.
24. Of the more modern attractions in Thailand’s capital, the Iconsiam building, a 317 metre high skyscraper, should be mentioned. It houses a huge shopping mall, and in the evenings a colourful colour show of singing fountains is staged on the waterfront.
25. One of the largest Buddha statues is located on Phuket Island’s Mount Nakaked. This 45 metre high statue is erected on the spot where the Buddha himself meditated.
26. Samui Island is home to another majestic temple, Plai Laem, dedicated to the goddess Guanin. A huge statue of the goddess with 18 arms rises on an artificial island in the middle of a small pond.
27. The famous tropical garden Nong Nuch is located near the resort city of Pattaya. It has the richest collection of plants from all over the world, a museum of retro cars and a rock garden.
28. The original White Temple in the city of Chiang Rai began to build in 1997. The path to the temple is decorated with fangs and hands stretching from under the ground, and symbolises the road from hell to heaven.
29. Spirits’ houses, which tourists see at every step, at every house, can also be considered an attraction of the country. These houses are always two. One, which is higher, is intended for patron spirits, gods. The second, smaller one is for the spirits of ancestors.
The character and customs of Thais
30. Thais are good-natured and cheerful people for whom the meaning of life is expressed in the words Sanuk and Sabai. Translated, it means to be able to have fun and live in comfort.
31. The pursuit of personal comfort makes Thais unhurried and non-committal. Why rush somewhere today when you can do the same thing tomorrow?
32. Another iconic Thai word is «mai pen rai», which translates to «never mind». With this phrase locals easily settle any conflict and disagreement.
33. At the same time, the Thais are very imaginative. They have dozens of omens and taboos, to violate which is not accepted, is considered a bad tone. So, you can not touch the head of another person. This is a terrible insult, because it is in the head lives guardian spirit.
34. Also, it is not customary for Thais to address each other by name, especially to a stranger. This is again connected with guardian spirits. Therefore, Thais use nicknames for everyday communication.
35. As with many other Asian peoples, the left hand is considered dirty by the Thais. But feet are also considered dirty. They should not be extended towards another person.
36. Also Thais are very religious. They love monks and always make them offerings. And every man when he reaches the age of 20 is obliged to spend a few months in the temple, to become a monk.
37. Thais are very fond of the royal family and any insult to the monarchs is punished with a strict fine. And also you will not see anywhere in the country a picture of the king in old age. In all portraits it is necessarily a young, full of vigour man, no matter how old he really is.
38. In the country it is not customary to tip in coins, no matter how many. It is believed that coins are given only to monks and beggars. And the ordinary Thai is better to give a small note.
39. Thai wedding consists of two parts – secular and religious. First, the young bow before the image of Buddha and recite prayers, then parents put on their heads loops, symbolising the marriage bond.
40. Thais also have a concept of bride price, which the groom is obliged to pay. But recently this tradition has become symbolic and the bride price goes into the family budget.
41. The dead in the country are cremated according to Buddhist tradition. Moreover, the funeral itself is considered a holiday, because the person was freed from the burdens of the present life, and his spirit was given the opportunity to be reborn.
42. Traditional cuisine of Thailand includes many dishes from rice and seafood. Almost all dishes are mercilessly spicy. Thai curry, called kayeng, is very much loved here.
43. Tom Yam and Tom Kha soups have become the symbol of Thai cuisine. The first is cooked with shrimp and mushrooms, and the second – with coconut milk and chicken.
44. All foreigners of European origin in Thailand are called farangs. The origin of this word is not explained, but it does not carry a negative connotation.
The nature of Thailand
45. Most of Thailand is located in a subequatorial climate, very humid and hot, and therefore the nature here is lush and diverse. The country has many rivers, mountains, jungles and, of course, beaches.
46. The best beaches of the kingdom are located on the islands of Phuket, Krabi, Samui. They are characterised by a gentle entrance to the water, soft and clean sand, an abundance of underwater inhabitants.
47. The most exotic islands of Thailand are located in the province of Krabi. These are so-called rock islands – small areas of land covered with dense vegetation, rising above the sea bizarre figures.
48. The most beautiful river of the country is the Kwai in the north-west. It has a very strong and fast current, and is famous for its large daily fluctuations in water levels. They can be up to 1.5 metres.
49. The main symbol of the kingdom is the White Elephant. Such an elephant can only be owned by the king. After all, in Buddhism, the white elephant is considered the animal of the god Indra, the patron saint of Thailand and Bangkok.
50. The symbol of the country is also considered a Siamese cat. This elegant animal with short hair, black face and blue eyes has long conquered the world. Now there are several breeds based on its phenotype: Burmese, Balinese, Oriental.
Friends! If you know more interesting facts about Thais and Thailand, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be glad to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!